Put more butts in seats by engaging your customers

The restaurant business has always been about customer relationships. Existing customers are the engines that drive your business because happy customers come back and tell their friends about their great experiences. In fact, typically 70% of the customers that walk into a restaurant do so based on a friends recommendation. Given the incredible value of existing customers, restaurants need to own these customers not only to unlock their value in the form of referrals, repeat visits and positive reviews but also because just relying on other networks like Groupon, Yelp and Foursquare etc. can have disastrous consequences.

Renting is not owning

Traditional approaches to local marketing have all been about participating in somebody else’s network. Yelp promotions enable you to present your restaurant to people reading reviews in your area and Foursquare specials enable you to promote your service to Foursquare users. Groupon deals allow a restaurant to provide a great deal to their network of users.

While all these networks can help you “rent” their members in order to recruit new customers they all require a great deal of expertise and know-how to get the best results. In addition these networks do nothing to promote repeat/referral business from these customer and in fact can actually hurt the chances of having repeat visits by rewarding customers for a behavior that can drive them to a competitor. E.g. with Groupon some of customers buying your coupons could be already loyal customers so a business is not only discounting their product for no return but also reducing the value of your experience in eyes of your most valuable customers. Also with Groupon a business might also be signing up customers that are unlikely to return (might be far away from your location etc.) as they were interested just because of the massive discount. A business really needs to have a process and a plan in place to drive and measure repeat & and referral customers before undertaking any of these network based approaches in order to avoid these issues.

Keys to unlocking the value of your customers

Following are the keys to unlocking the value of your customers
• Know your loyal customers
• Engage and reward them when they come back
• Give them tools to spread the word-of-mouth about the restaurant
• Reward them when their friends come and visit

Over the years restaurants have been trying to find a way to achieve these results and best restaurateurs are still able to implement these steps by relying on personal relationships. But in the age of facebook and extreme customer mobility, personal relationships are often not sufficient.

Some restaurants create forms for customers to fill out and use these forms to create a customer database (a laborious and error prone process). Other customers ask their patrons to follow them on Facebook (once a customer leaves the premises, its hard to have them do anything). Still others institute paper punch cards (fraud prone and no way to collect customer information) or swipe card based loyalty program (expensive, poor registration rates and low ROI). All these approaches are either ineffective or require a herculean effort from the already-busy owners.

How to effectively engage your customers and put more butts in seats with Punchh

Punchh provides a turn-key solution that puts simple punch cards on customers phone. By relying on your customer’s mobile devices, Punchh engages restaurant customers on premise, at a time they are most open to engaging with the restaurant. By digitizing the cards and loyalty interaction, Punchh enables customers to create and manage their profiles with a restaurant so your customer information base is always correct and up-to-date. These profiles can then be combined with the context of when a customer came in and what they ordered to drive campaigns that bring back customers and strengthen engagement.

In addition, Punchh connects a mobile phone based punch card with Facebook. By providing restaurant customers the tools to spread the word-of-mouth, and rewarding them when their friends actually show up, Punchh provides restaurants a way to drive and measure the word-of-mouth and to put more butts in seats.

Punchh users typically create more reviews for a restaurant in a month than Yelp reviews ever. To address any negative comments, Punchh provides a dashboard for you to respond and resolve issues. In addition, you can repost the best comments to their own Facebook fan page or Twitter accounts. This allows restaurants to not only address all negative reviews to nip potential issues in the bud but also enables them to engage their community by spreading positive reviews.

Since Punchh relies on customers phones, it requires no hardware or software installs and businesses can be up and running in days.

Smart businesses ensure that they own their most valuable assets. Its time to start owning your customers and Punchh can help.